Judges recuse themselves in SAFE Act sign case

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – The stage was set for a battle Friday morning at Hamburg Town Hall. Opponents of the New York SAFE Act rallied around Scott Zawierucha, after the town cited him for his sign against the SAFE Act.

The sign in question faces the busy South Park Avenue in the Town of Hamburg. There are a lot of anti SAFE Act signs in the neighborhood but the town says where this one is placed makes it an issue. A town zoning ordinance prohibits any language or images from being placed on the outward side of a resident’s fence.

A large group of supporters gathered to support keeping the sign up in Hamburg Town Court Friday.

This contentious issue will have to be settled outside of Hamburg. Both judges in town recused themselves Friday because of conflicts of interest.

The home’s owner Scott Zawierucha believe the ordinance is unconstitutional and says his fight to keep the sign is one of principal.

Zawierucha said, “It’s nothing offensive, there is no profanity. It doesn’t hamper public safety, really it doesn’t bother anybody. I feel that anybody has a right to express their constitutional rights without fear of reprisal.”

A county court will reassign the case in the next couple of weeks to a neighboring town. Zawierucha’s lawyer said at that point, he and his lawyer will move to dismiss the citation.

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